Gold, an Olympic team event bronze medalist, sits in second place after Friday’s short program, 5.53 points behind Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva, the World junior champion making her senior Grand Prix debut.
The last U.S. woman to win Skate America was Ashley Wagner in 2012. Gold is looking for her second Grand Prix series win in as many seasons to go along with fourth-place finishes at the Olympics and last season’s World Championships.
WATCH LIVE: Skate America — 5 p.m. ET
Later Saturday, short program leader and 2013 U.S. champion Max Aaron will look to become the first U.S. man to win Skate America since Evan Lysacek in 2009. NBCSN will have further coverage Sunday from 10-11:30 p.m. ET.
Skate America is the first of six Grand Prix series events leading up to the Grand Prix Final in December in Barcelona.
The next stop is Skate Canada next weekend, featuring Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, World champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, three-time World champion Patrick Chan and the three-time U.S. champion Wagner.
MORE FIGURE SKATING: Full 2015-16 broadcast schedule